Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Summer writing project (Day Seven)

Today wasn't a good day for writing for me--my hay fever (and the medicine I take for it!) had me lethargic and foggy-brained all day. I did some reading in Becoming Taiwanese as well as a bit of Faye Yuan Kleeman's Under an Imperial Sun: Japanese Colonial Literature of Taiwan and the South. Chapter 6 of her book covers language policy in Japan and colonial Taiwan. Some of this is also covered in Eika Tai's 1999 article, "Kokugo and Colonial Education in Taiwan." Gareth Price also discusses some similar points in his book, Language, Society, and the State: From Colonization to Globalization in Taiwan. I'm curious about what they have to say about how proficient Taiwanese were in the Japanese language by the end of the Japanese colonial period.

Price, citing A-chin Hsiau, says that by 1944, 80% of Taiwanese were proficient in Japanese. As he notes, though, "this must be taken with some caution; the Japanese would have had political motives for inflating the extent of assimilation to convince both themselves and their Taiwanese subjects of its success and, as we shall see, colonial authorities constructed political and socio-economic incentives for residents to claim Japanese proficiency" (p. 126). Kleeman says that by 1941, 57% of Taiwanese "could comprehend Japanese" (p. 142). Tai also cites the 57% number and notes, as Kleeman does, that this number doesn't mean that these people were fluent or proficient in Japanese. As Tai notes, for instance, "in the streets of Taiwanese cities, where Japanese needed to communicate with local Taiwanese who spoke little Japanese, these two groups of people together invented a pidgin Japanese in which Japanese words were put together in a Taiwanese order" (p. 129). Kleeman also gives examples of how the reality of Japanese usage differed from the image provided by that 57% number.

Anyway, back to work on my paper tomorrow, assuming my allergies don't knock me out again.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Summer writing project (Day Six)

I did actually end up doing a little writing over the weekend--mostly on Saturday, and it mostly consisted of putting back some material that I had taken out on Day Three. But I think I've put it in in a way that's more connected to my overall argument. I added some more today (though not as much as I'd like to). I'm skimming through some books and looking for another to look up some citations. More of that tomorrow...

Friday, May 07, 2021

Summer writing project (Day Five)

So today I didn't wake up early enough, but I did have a productive meeting with my colleagues in my faculty mentoring circle, "How to Get Published." We were talking about our goals for the summer and the hurdles we have to overcome, and without getting into too much detail, I'll just say they gave me some good advice and reminders about how I should be thinking about this whole process of academic writing and publishing. 

I was also reminded that I have another summer writing project--a presentation for a conference in July! I need to get some work done on that, too! It's on a completely different topic, but I've presented on something related to it before, so maybe it won't be too hard to do.

I'm not going to write these updates on the weekends--I'll give you a break! See you Monday!

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Summer writing project (Day Four)

A little late on writing this. Apologies to all my reader.

I did get up earlier today, but I only got a paragraph written. Not much, huh? Maybe I'll pick up speed on it soon. 

Meanwhile, I read more of Becoming Taiwanese for inspiration. Back to work tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

"Now what enemies do we have?"

In the third chapter of Becoming Taiwanese, Evan N. Dawley goes into some depth discussing a Lunar New Year banner hung in the Jilong Customs Assimilation Association (基隆同風會) meeting hall in 1935. The purpose of the Customs Assimilation Association (CAA) was to promote the assimilation of Japan's Taiwanese subjects to Japanese culture, though there was less a sense, at least at the time the CAA was established, of a need to eradicate all non-Japanese practices than there was a kind of negotiation between local practices and the norms of the Japanese metropole. For instance, Dawley notes that a "mild critique" of local religious festivals is "couched in a Confucian morality that must have been familiar to Jilong's islanders" (151). 

The banner at the CAA building is another such negotiation, according to the author. After translating the couplets on the banner, one of which reads, "With the same sentiments and origins, we enforce military preparations and encourage culture and learning, why should we fear that our enemies will run wild?" (154), Dawley argues that the couplets represent a negotiation between "their Chinese heritage and their accommodations to Japanese rule" (155). Going into more depth about the reference to "enemies," he writes, 

The reference to "enemies" (hu'er [胡兒]), a term with an ancient application to supposedly uncivilized groups beyond the state's borders, was [155||156] perhaps the most telling statement of their independent consciousness. On one level was the question of just who these enemies were. Just across the Taiwan Strait lay Republican China, where the central government did not have firm control over all of the provinces, but the centralizing regime at times threatened Japanese interests; to the north of the area under Nationalist Chinese rule lay Manchuria, an ancient homeland for China's enemies, including some historical hu'er, where the Japanese Army ran a puppet state through the last Manchu emperor and challenged Chinese sovereignty. Which group corresponded to the enemies who might run wild? At no time had [local Jiling elites] Yan and Xu overtly displayed the sort of anti-Japanese Chinese nationalism that flourished across the strait and motivated the "half-mountain people" (banshanren) who left Taiwan to fight Japan in China. They would certainly not have risked referring to Manchukuo as an enemy in the presence of Government-General representatives. It is more likely that both the ongoing fragmentation in China and the potential danger of a more unified nation under Nationalist control sparked the metaphor, but even so the message did not favor expansion, since these enemies gave no real cause for concern. Yan and Xu subtly challenged those who saw Taiwan as a bastion for further imperial conquest, and they did so by relying on an old Chinese worldview of external threats, and on the language of literary Chinese, which connected them to their cultural background rather than to contemporary Japanese nationalism. (155-6)

I like Dawley's interpretation of the rhetoric of "enemies" in the couplet. I hadn't heard of the term hu'er before; when I looked it up, another thought occurred to me. I saw that one of the definitions of the term notes, "清 末 民 初泛用為對外國人的蔑稱" (meaning that hu'er was used at the end of the Qing and the beginning of the Republican period to refer more generally to foreigners). I wonder if Japanese were ever called hu'er...

This couplet reminded me, too, of another place where I saw "enemies" referred to: in a sixth-grade Guoyu textbook lesson from 1956. In this lesson about a Chinese war hero named Yan Haiwen, "the enemy" is never referred to by name, just by the appellation, "the enemy" (in this case, using the term diren [敵人]). At the end of the lesson, students are asked, "Who was China's enemy at that time? Now what enemies do we have?" In the textbook, the writers are vague about the identity of the enemy in order to force students to emphasize that the Japanese were the enemy of China at that time, and then through the second question, to identify with China by answering the question about the enemies "we" have now. For Taiwanese sixth-graders in 1956, whose older relatives (including siblings or parents) might have served the Japanese military in some way, to be associated with "China's enemy" in their Guoyu class must have been traumatic. 

Summer writing project (Day Three)

Overslept this morning, so I didn't make much headway on my project so far. One thing I did decide to do, though, was to save my work as a new file and then delete everything after the (somewhat long) introduction I mentioned yesterday. I did that because I felt that the current draft, a lot of which came from a 2005 conference paper and a chapter from my dissertation, was no longer reflecting what (I think) I'm trying to do. So I decided instead to start from scratch. I can always go back to previous drafts to copy relevant parts into the new version when necessary. 

Right now I'm reading Evan N. Dawley's book, Becoming Taiwanese. I just finished the third chapter, in which Dawley explores how social organizations in Jilong mediated between the residents of Jilong (both islanders and Japanese settlers) and the shifting approaches the Japanese colonial government was taking toward Taiwan. He ends the chapter with the suggestion that it's in the context of the 1930s-era push for assimilation in the expanding (and increasingly intolerant) Japanese empire that we can begin to see "Taiwanese" "as an ethnic group that obtained cohesion and sought survival within the confines of the Japanese Empire" (160). 

Anyway, back to work...

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Summer writing project (Day Two)

I was up a bit late last night, so I woke up a little later than I had planned. Last night, there was a panel discussion online about the Diaoyutai movement of 1971, and I wanted to tune into that. It turns out they recorded it, so it might end up on their website at some point in the future. There were some "old veterans" of the movement who talked: Liu Ta-jen (劉大任), Chang Hsi-kuo (張系國),  and Shaw Yu-ming (邵玉銘). There were also some scholars who discussed their research on the movement. Chang couldn't stay for long because he had a heart operation today(!). I wish him the best!

So to my writing--yesterday I was complaining about my introduction, which was not taking me in the direction I was hoping to go. This morning I found a way to cut to the chase and get the introduction to where I wanted it to be. The problem, though, is that my introduction is about 1165 words, which is almost 1/6 of the maximum length of the paper (the journal I hope to send this to requires articles to be at most 7500 words). So I will probably have to cut that introduction down at some point. But first I need to get the paper written; then I can decide how it needs to be cut down. Wish me luck!

Monday, May 03, 2021

Summer writing project (Day One)

During the past year, I joined a group at my school that was working on writing research articles. We were using the book, Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks by Wendy Belcher to help us through the process. One thing we liked about the book is that it's actually more realistic than its title suggests--for me, the 12 weeks has stretched out into something closer to 36 weeks and counting. 

I also found that I wasn't able to keep up with the writing, so I'm now coming back to my paper after a two-month hiatus. (Sorry, Dr. Belcher!) I have a couple of months to work on it before I have to start teaching again (I have a class to teach starting in early July), so I'm going to try to see if I can finish a solid draft by then. First step is to remind myself of what I was writing about!

I reread my introduction draft this morning and was excited at what I was working on, though at the same time I feel as though the introduction is taking me in a different direction than I was originally thinking. That is, it seems to be introducing a different paper from the one I thought I was working on. I'm now considering what I should do about that. One part of me wants to continue on this introduction and see where it takes me, but another part of me wants to go back to the draft of the body of the paper (which is a bit of a mess) and see how I can work my way from there back to a more suitable introduction. Probably I'd have to rewrite the body as part of that process, but I'll have to do that anyway. 

If I did the latter, I suppose I could keep the first introduction for another paper. I like it, though, and at least part of it seems relevant to what I plan to write about for this paper, but I'm not sure how to tame it to get it to move me to where I want to be. 

Well, this is the first day of the summer writing project, so I guess it's OK if I am working through these kinds of questions at this "early" stage.

I'll try to continue with these vague blog posts on my writing process throughout the summer. At least it might force me to keep getting up early and doing some writing.